Paramount end game?
February 1, 2024
It seems like we’ve been waiting for ‘the other shoe to drop’ and someone to buy Paramount for a long time.
Even the group’s own CEO holds staff ‘town halls’ openly discussing likely bids while enjoining them to concentrate on their jobs and his own growth plans. That will be a good trick, if they can do it. The once proud innovator of the likes of Showtime, MTV and Nickolodeon, has been a day late and a dollar short to every media party of the last couple of decades.
Sometimes having a controlling force in a company can facilitate quick and decisive actions. The Redstone family – Viacom/ Paramount story hasn’t worked out that way. First it spun off the CBS network, then it paid a high price to bring it back in. And it took too long to decide the old model of pay-TV with Showtime needed to be replaced with the Paramount streaming service. It has had Pluto TV for ten years – a prescient move into FAST – but it has failed to really press home the advantage. And now with both CBS and Pluto, it finds itself overexposed to depressed advertising revenue, by comparison to its peers.
Byron Allen’s bid is unlikely to succeed as it stands, and is unlikely to be the end of the story. Allen already tried to buy BET from Paramount but was turned away on price. BET may still be his main target and he is open on plans to break up and sell off much of the group. It is probable any other buyer will have a similar approach.
Perhaps one of the FAANG+ outfits will snap it up and keep what’s good. Perhaps a financial buyer will do likewise, and maybe combine what’s left with Disney cast-offs.
Or perhaps a combination of all the above. With media values (and most others) as they are, Paramount may wish it had resigned itself to the market sooner.